Overland Trip from India to Myanmar- Thailand- Cambodia ( Meet with Riding clubs)

Appachu

New member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Location
India Bangalore
Bikes
BMW GSA 1200
Posted on behalf of Appachu in India


Dear Admin,
This is the beginning of the once in lifetime errand for me - Appachu, and for 3 of my fellow rider friends Venu Nair, Sridhar Maney & Shashidhar Patil.
We have traversed on many adventure rides in various parts of the world and in India as well. I felt that riding in other parts of the world is an experience and riding in India is a celebration, because every 150Kms you ride in India the food, culture, dialect, people change and every Indian traveling across India experiences this incredibility of India and this is a celebration.
On this Southeast Asian Expedition, I along with my friends will be covering countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and will be riding back to Bangalore covering a distance of 10000 + Kms. The soul of the ride is to promote India as a tourist and motorcycling/riding destination. During our road trip, we want to meet up with various riders along the way from other parts of the globe. We want to interact with various motorcycle riding clubs, adventure tour operators in the SEA region and we want to talk India about as a riding destination. We want to welcome riders your Southeast Asia to Ride, Reach, & Explore beautiful North East, Enchanting South, Magnanimous Leh & Ladakh, Kutch, Haji Ali, Golden Temple, Dhanushkodi and the list is limitless in short its ..... Incredible India ... Ride Reach & Realise ...

Please note this ride is not for any commercial gain and soul purpose is to connect with various adventure riding clubs to meet the riders and welcome them to India.

I request all interested Adv riding clubs to give us an opportunity to connect with you guys. Your reply is highly appreciated. my mail id:- mangerira@gmail.com
Here is our ride detail.
Dec 2 Strat from India Gauhati to Myanmar.
Dec 5 :- Enter Tamu and ride till 9th in Myanmar covering Kaley, Mandalay, Mae Sot
Dec 9th Reach Maesot and head to Cambodia covering Maesariang, Mae Hong Son Loop, Chiang Mai, and enter Cambodia by 12th Dec
Dec 12th to 14 Ride in Cambodia visit Angkor Vat
Dec 14th Angkor Vat to Pattaya
Dec 16th Pattaya to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and enter Myanmar by 19th Dec.
 

bsacbob

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Location
Chiang Rai
Bikes
Honda CRM-AR 250, Honda CRF 250-L, Suzuki V Strom XT 650 Honda XR250 Baja BMW F650GS
That's quite a journey, welcome to the forum, you are welcome to stop by Chiang Rai on your travels and meet with fellow riders.

:vee:
 

phuketrichard

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2013
Bikes
1970 tri 500 C
PLEASE add on at least 7 days
Do you have ur travel agent/permits arranged for Burma?
3 days to get from Mae sot to Cambodia??? Have you looked at a map?
1 day Angkor wat to pattaya?

You have any idea what border ur using for thai/Cambodia an out?

Best of luck
 

Snakeboy

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Location
RTW
Bikes
Honda Crf 250L 2012, Yamaha XT660Z Tenere 2011
I have ridden around the world (minus Africa) and I spent a long time in Thailand and several other south-east Asian countries. I have ever since followed the situation for foreign overlanding vehicles going through Thailand and other southeast-Asian countries.
For Myanmar you will need guides and permits. These should be arranged well in advance, and since you are crossing Myanmar twice you better get a deal with an agency that can help you early on. Also - I see that you plan to exit Thailand and enter Myanmar from Kanchanaburi province. Yes there is a bordercrossing there, called Phu Nam Ron. But is the Myanmar side connected to any road network that bring you to any main road? According to Google Maps which I of course doesnt trust 100 % there isnt. If there is a road that is connected to the main roads of Myanmar - you will still have to research if it is possible to cross there. I have not heard about any foreigner who has crossed that border with a foreign vehicle.

So that leads to the second obstacle. There are two other main bordercrossings between Myanmar and Thailand that foreigners are allowed to use (you still need guides and permits) and that is the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border and the Tachilek-Mae Sai border. Then it gets complicated: Since 2016 also Thailand has required mandatory guides and permits for foreign vehicles crossing into and through Thailand. However these mandatory guides and permit rules have at best been very haphazardly and accidently enforced. Some borders do enforce them strictly, other borders seem to enforce them now and then and other borders again doesnt care at all - and let foreign vehiceles through with a TIP and or even a Carnet.
So what about the Myanmar-Thailand bordercrossings then? Unfortunately the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border has been about the only border that have strictly enforced the guide and permit rules 100 % all the time. That leaves us with the Tachilek-Mae Sai border. This border has not been used a lot since afaik it takes some extra permits to arrange since one have to travel to restricted areas in Myanmar to get to Tachilek. However the Myanmar agencies started to use this borders for their foreign clients since at Mae Sai they didnt enforce the mandatory guide and permit rules. So that was for a while the the only border between Myanmar and Thailand that foreign travellers could get into Thailand without having permits and guides arranged in advance. Unfortunately the latest two groups of international travellers that have come through the Tachilek-Mae Sai border have been denied entry to Thailand as of now also this border demand that you have permits and guides arranged in advance. These last two groups of travellers were however allowed to put their bikes on the back of pick up trucks (which they had to pay a good amount of money to do) and transport them into the nearest Laos bordercrossing. They then entered Laos, spent one night there and then re-entered Thailand from Laos and from there they were able to enter Thailand without permits and guides and travel freely on their own. Thats how consistent things are in Thailand at the moment...🙄

For Cambodia - I dont even know if its worth trying to write something sensible about entering that country with a foreign bike. But ok, I give it a chance, its even less consistant than Thailand.
1. For some time some borders into Cambodia used to be very easy to cross into with a foreign vehicle. No paperwork was demanded and no paperwork were handed out. Easy peacy! Do what you want, go where you want, stay as long as you want with yoir vehicle!
2. Other bordercrossings were more difficult, they demanded permits that were difficult to obtain, and travellers had to leave their vehicles at the border and find transport on their own into Phnom Penh and jog around to different offices and try to collect the correct amount of paperwork and stamps. Then they could retrun to the border and pick up their vehicle and enter Cambodia.
3. I read somewhere that Cambodia was about to start a TIP system so that international travellers could get a TIP at the border that allowed them a certain amount of time in the country (as most other countries have) And I have actually heard from an acquaintance that travelled through Cambodia that he got a TIP for his foreign plated motorbike upon entering Cambodia - so at least its implemented at that border. However I doubt strongly that this TIP system is implemented at every bordercrossing.
4. Also I have read that to avoid corruption and misunderstandings there is now a certain letter that travellers can obtain to avoid all the hazzles and corruption going on at bordercrossings into Cambodia. This letter has used succsessfully at least once at one of the most corrupted and difficult border. So it is definitively a thing to think about.

Remember also that going into and through Bangkok on a motorbike is quite complicated. Motorbikes are not allowed on certain highways/tollroads into Bangkok and motorbikes are not allowed on many of the bridges over the Chao Phraya river that flows through the middle of the city. So coming from Pattaya you have either to go around the city on the northside or sneak though the southern passage and the the motorbike ferry at Pra Pradeang to cross the Chao Phraya river.

Here are some useful Facebook groups for international travellers with vehicles for Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar



 

Snakeboy

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Location
RTW
Bikes
Honda Crf 250L 2012, Yamaha XT660Z Tenere 2011
PLEASE add on at least 7 days
Do you have ur travel agent/permits arranged for Burma?
3 days to get from Mae sot to Cambodia??? Have you looked at a map?
1 day Angkor wat to pattaya?

You have any idea what border ur using for thai/Cambodia an out?

Best of luck
3 days from Mae Sot to Cambodia??? From Mae Sot to the Chong Chom-O Smach bordercrossing it is according to Google maps 757 kms, so that can with some effort be done in one day. I would however have calculated 2 days from Mae Sot to Siem Reap as it is 167 kms from the border to Siem Reap.... but that is without doing the MHS loop of course.
 

phuketrichard

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2013
Bikes
1970 tri 500 C
i have driven those roads many times, so much to see and have never done mae sot via MHS to SR in less than a week
SR- Poi pet border 3 hours-if u push it, could be in patttaya in 6 hours from there.
Seems like the OP's only requirement is to ride as far as he can in a limited time.
 

Snakeboy

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Location
RTW
Bikes
Honda Crf 250L 2012, Yamaha XT660Z Tenere 2011
i have driven those roads many times, so much to see and have never done mae sot via MHS to SR in less than a week
SR- Poi pet border 3 hours-if u push it, could be in patttaya in 6 hours from there.
Seems like the OP's only requirement is to ride as far as he can in a limited time.
True - but then again you might have more time availabe than these indian riders and maybe most important - you dont have to pay huge amounts of money to a thai agency providing permits and reckognised guides for a trip in Thailand.
 

blackwolf

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Bikes
Honda Sonic 125cc, 4 wheels, about to buy a 250cc dirt bike
Judging by the dates mentioned by the OP, if everything went well he should be on his way into Cambodia now.

Snakeboy, that's a very good write up of the current situation.

However, let me add a few things: it's not true that only one (or now two) border crossings strictly enforce the permit rules 100% of the time. Only a limited number of crossings are used by most overlanders and thus no one can say for sure what the situation is at every crossing. Another very strict crossing is Aranyaprathet/Poipet, which also strictly enforces the guide and permit rule. Ranong/Kawthoung is generally a no go since there are no vehicle ferries, but if you arrive on a tour for both countries, I'm sure something can be arranged. I know a Russian group did so back in 2014, having used that crossing to enter Myanmar.

One thing I know is that the rules have been strictly enforced for Chinese registrations, while vehicles registered in all other countries are sometimes let in, sometimes not, without a permit and guide. All depends on the border or official on duty. One day may be OK, the next it's a no. This was the original idea behind the regulations in the first place, to stop the huge influx of Chinese registrations. It was never really designed to stop overlanders from third countries other than China from entering, given the relatively small numbers that come in. Still, the regulations look like they are here to stay.

One border that has been easy so far is Chong Chom/O'Smach. Angkor Wat to Pattaya should be OK if you exit via the Prom/Ban Pakkard crossing. I drove to Cambodia at the beginning of the year, entering at O'Smach and exiting at Prom. I received a piece of paper, a "Temporary Import Permit" or "TIP", which I received for free and handed back in at Prom upon exiting, no questions asked.

However, recently there was a Facebook post on the Department of Land Transport page (PR DLT) about the permit system, suggesting they will be enforcing these rules more strictly in the future. The post is dated November 4th, and the website for the permit system is here: Foreign Vehicle Permit

What they also plan on doing is implementing a system for Cambodian and Burmese registrations to ensure they don't leave the provinces they entered. For Burmese registrations, this is already the case, besides they can only remain in Thailand for one day on each visit, but for Cambodians, they can easily bypass checkpoints and head to the interior of the country. In fact, the other day I spotted a Phnom Penh registered Lexus driving in downtown Bangkok. Not that I agree with their plans, but since Thailand and Cambodia lack an agreement covering private vehicles and Cambodia has so far refused to implement one, that's the plan. Of course it could still be a while before the new system is up and running.

As for Ban Phu Nam Ron/Tiki (usually spelled "Htee Khee" in Burmese English), this border is often used by Thai caravan tours. Many have crossed and I've also read about one organized by Burma Senses, where a Singaporean group used it to enter Thailand. Forget about Google Maps, it's way behind the curve - it took them like 2 years before the new Myawaddy to Kawkareik mountain bypass road even showed up online. A more accurate option is Maps.me, which is updated more frequently. As for this border, there is almost exactly 100km of dirt road from the border to Myitta, before you arrive at a paved road. Italian-Thai company intends to upgrade the road to 4-lanes as part of the Dawei SEZ project, but so far work has yet to commence. Some minor road improvement works are underway on the 50km Dawei-Myitta section however, being done by local companies. Also, on the Thai side, new CIQ buildings are just about complete and the border crossing should be moving approx. 4km from the current temporary location to the actual border soon. However, a visa is required to enter Myanmar at this crossing, e-visas not being accepted (except when exiting for Thailand). This is straightforward enough for Indian passport holders, but they'll need to visit the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok to apply for one, which takes 2 business days (apply on day 1 in the morning, receive passport back on day 2 in the afternoon).

Finally, the Kawkareik-Zartarpyin-Eindu road is in a mess now. It's mostly a combination of dirt, narrow and broken asphalt and bouncing around, dodging trucks, buses, motorcycles and cars due to construction works having recently recommenced. The Myitta-Htee Khee road is actually less uncomfortable of a trip at the moment.
 
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